Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Mary Randolph and Thomas Jefferson

Mary Randolph Randolph was a distant cousin of Thomas Jefferson, as was her husband; and her brother married Jefferson's daughter.  There were other connections, and several false stories...

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Mothering Sunday - Simnel cakes and furmety

Three weeks before Easter, in the middle of Lent, was Mothering Sunday, Mid-Lent Sunday or in Bury, England - Simnel Sunday. Simnel Cake (boiled then baked), Mothering Buns, Furmity and lamb.  

Monday, March 16, 2020

Saving snow in 18th century Naples for iced drinks and food

Snow instead of ice was used in Naples. The snow was stored in the "cliffs and caverns on the mountain of San Angelo, between Castell-a-Mare and Sorento."  Donkeys carried the snow down to boats then to Naples. The Bourbon kings of Naples felt they had to provide the snow for their subjects drinks or they would revolt.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Olio

Olio was an extravagant stew of many meats, vegetables, herbs and spices served in it's own "close-covered" cooking "olio pot."   Vincent La Chapelle, "Chief Cook" to the Earl of Chesterfield, included three recipes in his 1733 work The Modern Cook - one French Olio and two Spanish.  By the 1860s a Crab Olio was in two Maryland cookbooks - no meat, but crab, eggplant and tomatoes.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Making butter yellow

Winter butter was pale, but was enhanced with carrot juice, marigold, annato, turmeric and even egg yolks for selling in the cities.  "No one in the country will eat colored butter in winter except as the milk colors it."  The taste and color naturally improved when the cows ate grass instead of their winter diet of hay. More on grass butter HERE

Monday, February 17, 2020

Rumford Roaster for sale

How great would it be to own a c200 year old Rumford Roaster!  This Rumford Roaster, made by Elijah Fuller of Salem, was originally in an 18th century house in Peabody MA, and was working into the late 20th century; the home was demolished and the oven was saved and installed in a new house. Again removed and stored, the current owner hopes it will be used and appreciated once again.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Chickens roosting in trees

Although there are many images of chicken ladders in Germany, HERE I haven’t seen a chicken ladder going into a tree...until recently.  The photo was taken the first two decades of the 1900s on a farm in southern Monroe County, Pa.  In the few writings about the pros and cons of chickens in trees, only one mentioned to "place something" for the chickens to get to the branches.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Robert Roberts - author, abolitionist, butler

Robert Roberts (c1777-1860) was a free African American who wrote the marvelous The House Servant's Directory in 1827. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

Bitter butter in winter

Without a steady means of refrigeration, butter could be bitter in the winter if (according to 18th and 19th century sources) ... the milk froze then thawed, the cream was not skimmed off the milk in time, uneven turning of the barrel churn... or if the cattle ate ash tree leaves at "Michaelmas time" (Sept. 29).

Monday, January 20, 2020

Hercules Posey - George Washington's celebrity chef - new news

Five years ago I did a post on this gifted slave who escaped to freedom on Washington's birthday and was never found.  Well, now he has been found, but his image is lost.  The striking portrait by Gilbert Stuart was not of Hercules nor by Stuart.  The "toque" was actually a West Indian headdress. Hercules lived and was buried in New York City and he has dates! 1748-1812

Monday, January 6, 2020

The Twelfth Night waffles of Dutch painter Jan Steen

Instead of a Twelfth Night Cake, waffles were among the holiday's foods in the 17th century, painted by Jan Steen (1626-1679). Click on picture to enlarge